Written answers

Thursday, 4 July 2024

Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport

Rail Network

Photo of Éamon Ó CuívÉamon Ó Cuív (Galway West, Fianna Fail)
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41. To ask the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport when it is intended to publish the All Island Strategic Rail Review; if, following its publication, he will fast track the commencement of the opening of the western rail corridor from Athenry to Claremorris, as was done in the case of the reopening of the Foynes to Limerick line; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28343/24]

Photo of Eamon RyanEamon Ryan (Dublin Bay South, Green Party)
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The All-Island Strategic Rail Review is being undertaken by my Department, in co-operation with the Department for Infrastructure in Northern Ireland. The Review will inform the development of rail on the Island of Ireland in the coming decades to 2050, in line with net zero targets in both jurisdictions.

Work on the Review is now at an advanced stage and a draft Report was published for a Strategic Environmental Assessment, or SEA, public consultation in July of last year. As part of the draft Report's recommendations, there would be the rehabilitation of disused lines such as the Western Rail Corridor between Athenry and Claremorris. It is recommended in the draft Review Report that works commence on the Western Rail Corridor between Athenry and Claremorris by circa 2030.

Overall, the draft Report makes 30 strategic recommendations to enhance the rail system across the island up to 2050. Implementation of these recommendations would result in substantial improvements in the capacity, speed, frequency and reach of the rail system. Journey times by rail would be much reduced, and frequency would increase to at least hourly between cities and every two hours on rural and regional routes. The network would be decarbonised, with the intercity routes electrified.

The public consultation phase of the SEA process concluded on 29th September 2023 and submissions have been reviewed by officials from both Ireland and Northern Ireland.

It is expected that a Review Report, taking account of the comments raised in the consultation, will be submitted for Government shortly and that the final Review Report will be published by the end of Summer.

Individual programmes and projects referred to within the final Review Report will be advanced subject to funding and relevant approvals, as required under the Infrastructure Guidelines.

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